At 9 a.m. this morning, longtime Marquette City Manager Bill Vajda submitted his letter of resignation with Mayor Mike Coyne.
“Please accept this letter as notice of my intent to resign the position of City Manager,” Vajda wrote. “(It) has been my honor and privilege to serve.”
Coyne said that he heard last night through a text message that Vajda planned on resigning today.
“He told me that he has accomplished all that he wanted to do in Marquette and all that the city commission asked him to do,” Coyne said. “This was not planned and it makes me sad.”
Vajda was not immediately available for comment.
As part of city protocol, Vajda will serve 30 days after his resignation is accepted. This will give October 5 as Vajda’s expected last day. In the mean time, the city has scheduled a special meeting for Tuesday, September 8 that will be open to the public to accept the resignation officially. The meeting will be at 5:15 p.m. in commission chambers of city hall.
A committee will be selected to help hire a new manager at that meeting, which will include three commissioners and most likely an outside firm to go through candidates. This is similar to the process used in hiring Vajda. Vajda will not be part of the selection process.
Coyne expects Chief of Police Mike Angeli to be appointed as interim city manager. Angeli has filled in for Vajda in the past in issues of conflict of interest, like the Lower Harbor boathouse. Coyne believes that this will help with some of the transition to a new manager.
“It’s a challenge, but we’re up for it,” he said. “I’ve been through this before and there is no instability as the city keeps going. The bureaucracy is still there.”
Vajda was sworn in as city manager in 2010. He is a Marquette High School and University of Michigan alum that served with NATO, NSA and the IRS before taking the job. Vajda was also linked to the list of applicants applying for a similar job with Grand Traverse County.
This is the second big resignation for Marquette in the last week as Fire Chief Tom Belt announced his retirement on Wednesday.